Art and Nature Beyond the Wall
March 18–June 26, 2016
Opening: March 17, 6:30–10pm
Parco Arte Vivente (PAV)
Via Giordano Bruno 31
T +39 011 318 2235
parcoartevivente.it Curated by Marco Scotini
Closely linked to the Earthrise exhibition dedicated to the Italian artistic scene in the 1970s, the PAV is continuing its investigations into the pioneers of the relationship between artistic practices and the natural environment, this time moving towards the East and tracing a constellation of complementary experiences generated under Socialism. EcologEAST is the first exhibition in Italy presenting non-official, avant-garde artistic research working with the environment and spread throughout Central Europe: from Poland to the former Czechoslovakia, from Romania to Hungary and the former Yugoslavia. The differences in context, primarily from an ideological point of view, make it difficult to make their approach comparable with that developed by western Earth workers and Land artists, over and well beyond the appearance of the strategies used.
At the start of the 1970s, the topic of the environment which emerged in full in the West, did not appear to have been stopped by the Iron Curtain. This is not because the crisis in nature stood, by its very statute, apart from the economy, society and politics and, therefore, would be self-explanatory. But, on the contrary, precisely because the origins of its deterioration lay fully within these factors, it is necessary to ask ourselves what it is then that unites both the East and the West under this aspect. One of the fathers of political ecology such as André Gorz responded, instinctively, that the problem lies in both cases, in seeing “growth” as the answer to all ills.
In 1977, André Gorz wrote: “All those on the left who refuse to tackle the problem of equity without growth, demonstrate the fact that, for them, socialism is nothing more than the continuation, using other means, of capitalist social relationships and culture, of the bourgeois way of life and consumer models.” Precisely because the error lies in having taken over the production methods of capitalism, without changing them, Gorz concluded: “Growth-oriented capitalism is dead. Growth-oriented socialism, which closely resembles it, reflects the distorted image of our past, not of our future.”
Post 1968 counter-culture, technological innovation and the ecology debate were at the heart of a new radical trend which, from the second half of the 1960s saw a series of artists, in different regional contexts, developing a multiplicity of ephemeral practices (performative and conceptual) as direct actions taking place, mainly, within the natural environments at the margins of the cities and recorded in photographic documents or as exposés of pollution through videos or postcards, graphic maps and visual cosmologies as in the case of Sikora, the recovery of local traditions and recourse to organic materials, irrigation systems and community associations such as that inaugurated by the OHO Group near Šempas, or urban demonstrations with the involvement of the public, as in the case of the TOK Group in Zagreb.
The importance of these molecular actions lies in the reversed relationship between visibility and invisibility that they presented, as they also did with regard to the end of the humanist perspective that they pursued. The landscape was thus transformed almost imperceptibly, precisely because every hierarchy between humankind and nature is destroyed. But, above all, the underlying role of these actions was to provide the opportunity to indirectly criticize the political themes of the moment using, however, the concept of the environmental crisis which, as such, appeared to be detached from any expressly ideological implications. But, on the contrary, its aim was exactly that of promoting a political solution.
Works of Peter Bartoš (Slovakia), Imre Bukta (Hungary), Stano Filko (Slovakia), Ana Lupas (Romania), Teresa Murak (Poland), OHO Group (Slovenia), Pécs Workshop (Hungary), Zorka Ságlová (Czech Republic), Rudolf Sikora (Slovakia), Petr Štembera (Czech Republic), TOK Group (Croatia), Jiří Valoch (Czech Republic)
Realized with the support of Compagnia San Paolo.
Thanks to Marinko Sudac Collection, Zagreb; Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; MSU Zagreb; AMT Project Bratislava; P420 Bologna.
Public Talk: The Graphic Life of Letters in Russian Avant-Garde Book Design
with Jared Ash
Monday, March 28, 2016
6:30PM – 8:30PM
Location: Type@Cooper, Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square, New York, NY
From 1910 through the 1930s, “the book” played a consistently fertile medium for innovation and experimentation among artists of the Russian avant-garde. While constructivist theories and works by El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, and Il’ia Zdanevich (Iliazd) are generally familiar to type historians, students, and designers, less well known are the neo-primitivist and cubo-futurist publications of the early 1910s that influenced them. Though the text of these earlier editions is written primarily in manuscript and reproduced through lithography, this talk will highlight specific practices and design elements in them that not only appear later in constructivist typography, but epitomize it. In addition to the afore-listed artist-designers, we also will look at Aleksei Kruchenykh, Vasily Kamensky, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, and Olga Rozanova, all of whom strove to re-endow the printed word with the same vibrancy and vitality found in ancient texts, sacred manuscripts, painted signboards, and other forms of visually expressive text.
The event is free, but booking is essential: http://coopertype.org/event/the_graphic_life_of_letters_in_russian_avant_garde_book_design
Lecturer: Jared Ash
The Graphic Life of Letters in Russian Avant-Garde Book Design Jared Ash is Special Collections Librarian at the Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where his primary responsibilities are developing and cataloging Watson’s collections of Russian, Slavic, and rare materials.
From 2006 to 2012, Jared was Curator and Librarian of Special Collections at the Newark Public Library (Newark, NJ), where he curated a number of exhibitions drawn from Newark’s rich collections of artists’ books, illustrated books, fine prints, photographs, and fine printing.
As Curator of the Judith Rothschild Foundation from 1997 to 2002, Jared developed and cataloged a collection of more than 1,200 Russian avant-garde books, periodicals, and works on paper that was donated to the Museum of Modern Art in 2001; he collaborated with MoMA’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books on the 2002 exhibition, The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934, and contributed an essay, chapter introductions and more to the accompanying catalog. In addition to the MoMA catalog, Jared also has contributed essays on the Russian avant-garde and book design to publications for the Art Institute of Chicago and the library of the Van Abbemuseum, The Education of a Typographer (edited by Steven Heller), and the journals, Central Booking and Art Documentation.
Jared holds degrees in Russian Studies from Brown University and New York University, and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University.